I know what it feels like.
Just before dawn this morning, after a very short night with little sleep, I took my sweet friend Emma to the airport for her return flight to Colorado and the family she loves dearly. Her eyes were sparkling with joy as she checked her bag and walked toward the security line. She was going home.
Yesterday, those same eyes were sparkling with tears. As we rode the escalator down to the baggage claim area at Austin Bergstrom, there were cheers from waiting family and friends for the rest of our team. “We’re proud of you!” “We missed you so much!” The voices raised like a symphony.
But the orchestra wasn’t full.
Though every team member hugged Emma, though there was joy in the friendships made - there were voices she missed. Her journey wasn’t complete. She was not home yet.
I returned home and drifted off to sleep, thinking about Guatemala and Emma and the past week. And I dreamt. In that dream, I could hear my mom in the kitchen, making biscuits and gravy (I’ve written a chapter about this comfort food in my “may-never-be-finished” book). Her love was evident as she fluffed the sheets and stroked my forehead. Her voice calmed my soul.
Opening my eyes, for the briefest of moments, I thought I could hear her.
I am blessed to belong to a loving husband, a precious son and beautiful daughter-in-love, and God-crafted family. Yet, in the stillness of that dream, my heart ached to feel the touch of a mom who loved me beyond measure.
We all want to feel “home,” no matter who we are - a 16-year old from Colorado who sees her future ministering to the discarded in Latin America, a 50-year old who finds joy in helping others live transformational lives, one of the 148 million orphans in the world, the 30,000 kids in the Texas foster care system, or the vagabonds I pass every day on my way to more important things in my life.
Yes, I believe fully the journey to “home” continues throughout this life, and I pray whoever reads this has the sweet, humbling confidence of eternity with God All-Mighty. But I believe family isn’t something just to be experienced in Heaven. We are to minister to widows and orphans, we are to care for those passing through, we are to entertain strangers.
We are supposed to love beyond measure. We are to be the orchestra that says “welcome home.”